It’s an exciting time to be part of the rapidly growing gaming industry. In fact, it’s reasonable to say that we’re entering the golden age for gaming, despite some doomsayers claiming the opposite.
With rapid change comes a sense of uncertainty about where the gaming industry might be headed. That’s why developers need to stay on top of major trends facing the world of gaming to keep their audiences happy.
Here are five important trends game developers need to know about.
#1. Revival of Old-School Genres
The rise of digital distribution and crowdfunding have allowed the indie game market to grow exponentially in recent years, and there are no signs of slowing down.
The product of equal measure passion and business, indie studios are well known for reviving old-school genres that have been largely abandoned by AAA developers. From arcade-style games to real-time strategy and classic platform adventures, the games of old are rapidly making a comeback.
#2. Rise of Virtual Reality
Virtual reality represents one of the fastest-growing areas of the gaming market, and with good reason. Offering an unprecedented level of immersion, virtual reality and augmented reality are well on their way to becoming mainstream.
While VR isn’t likely to replace the traditional gaming experience any time soon, it offers an interesting alternative to play many titles. That’s why many developers are heavily focused on releasing VR-compatible games, as well as patches for existing titles.
#3. Player-Created Content
Modding has been around for almost as long as video games themselves. Historically, however, developers rarely support modding communities... until they realize just how lucrative it is.
In fact, countless titles, such as the Elder Scrolls and Half-Life series, have been kept alive for many years thanks largely to highly enthusiastic modding communities. As such, more and more developers are openly supporting mods in their games. The lesson? Take away the ability for players to mod your game and you could end up facing a reputational disaster.
#4. Higher Quality Mobile Games
With smartphones now more powerful than the laptops of just a few years ago, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that mobile gaming is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the industry.
Unfortunately, most mobile games are just plain bad, created for no other reason than to fleece players out of their money. Today, poor-quality, pay-to-win titles are finally being overshadowed by premium-quality games, including ports of popular indie titles and classic games that haven’t been seen in years.
#5. Increased Emphasis of Community
Gaming is no longer the relatively lonely affair that it once was. Even single-player games often have highly active communities around them. Consider Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. Despite being over six years old, Skyrim still has a very active modding community.
In fact, community has become so important in video games that many developers are integrating social media features right into their games. Better yet, some developers even make a point of showcasing community creations to reward their players and keep audiences engaged.